SOLUTIONS ARE AVAILABLE FOR THOSE DEALING WITH TMD
Throughout the day you use your jaw numerous times. For this reason, soreness in your jaw can be a significant concern. In this article, we evaluate the condition known as TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder), which causes pain in your jawbone. For men and women in High Point, NC who have TMD, there are numerous modern treatments that can help alleviate your symptoms and evaluate the root cause. If you have continual pain in your jaw, as well as trouble opening and closing your mouth, contact DentalWorks - High Point to schedule a complete oral health examination with our team of highly qualified dental professionals. Let's start by learning more about TMD and TMJ…
DISSIMILARITIES BETWEEN TMJ AND TMD
The initials used in the article are similar, so it could get confusing. Let's take a minute to learn the meaning of TMJ and TMD. Commonly referred to as TMJ for short, the temporomandibular joints are the two sliding hinge joints joining your mandible (jawbone) to the rest of your skull. When one or both of these joints become irritated or cause pain, it is known as a temporomandibular joint disorder, otherwise known as TMD. To recap, TMJ is your jaw joint, and TMD is a condition with your TMJ.
SIGNS OF TMD
Symptoms of TMD can range from slight discomfort to severe pain. If you recognize signs of TMD and discuss them with your dentist, your treatment process may be less invasive. If you identify any of the following symptoms, set up an appointment with your skilled dentist in High Point, NC as soon as possible:
- PAIN IN YOUR TMJ OR EARS
The temporomandibular joint is located right close to your ear, so when you have TMD, it may stimulate pain in and around your ears.
- NOISES WHEN YOUR JAW MOVES
Along with pain and irritation when moving your jaw, you may hear a clicking or popping noise when you open or close your mouth.
- PROBLEMS WHEN OPENING OR CLOSING YOUR MOUTH
As TMD progresses, it may feel like your jaw is difficult to move and will not smoothly open or close. At this point, it's essential to schedule an emergency appointment with your dentist to obtain treatment.
- STRUGGLES WITH CHEWING OR SPEAKING
If it is difficult or painful for you to chew or speak, you may have TMD. This may get continually worse with time, so you should visit your dentist as soon as possible.
- TENDER, SWOLLEN JAW
When you feel along your jawbone, it may feel inflamed or sore if you have TMD. This may make it tough to eat or speak.
CAUSES OF TMD
The cause of TMD is different from patient to patient, as there are numerous reasons why TMD may develop. One of the most recurring is arthritis in or trauma to your jawbone. A misaligned bite, known as malocclusion, may also be to blame. When biting down normally, the teeth should come together and rest evenly, so the mouth can close as it should. High spots on your natural teeth or a dental restoration, such as a crown, bridge, or denture can affect this and negatively impact how your jaw functions. Bruxism, a problem characterized as clenching the jaw and grinding the teeth either during the day or at night (nocturnal bruxism), can result in inflammation due to overworking the jaw muscles, leading to TMD. It may surprise some patients in High Point, NC to know that even excessive gum chewing can lead to a flare-up of TMD.
Despite the fact that there is no standardized test available to diagnose TMD, the dental professionals at DentalWorks - High Point will perform an in-depth oral health examination on patients who experience jaw pain. In most cases, oral exams include an assessment of jaw movement to detect any evidence of jaw clenching, misalignment, grinding, tenderness, or inflammation. Imaging, such as full-mouth digital x-rays, can also help your dentist to properly diagnose TMD and help them to create the appropriate course of treatment.
Therapy for your TMD symptoms will be customized based on the cause of the condition and the amount of your pain. Your dentist will effectively diagnose your TMD before formulating a treatment plan. This may include one or more professional treatments for long-term results, as well as recommendations for home remedies that will lead to faster, short-term relief from your TMD symptoms.
- CHECK YOUR POSTURE
Another therapy for relieving TMD pain involves initiating simple improvements to your posture. For example, avoiding resting your chin on your hand as this position puts extra pressure on the jawbone. Also, try sitting with your back pressed along a chair back to avoid slouching. It may help to decrease stress levels overall by practicing various relaxation and meditation techniques, including breathing exercises.
- AN ORTHODONTIC SOLUTION
Misalignment, also known as dental malocclusion, can put stress on your jaw joints resulting in TMD. To eliminate the pressure on your jaw and grant you a straighter smile, your skilled dentist may recommend orthodontic treatment. Depending on your needs and goals, this may comprise of traditional metal braces or the even more state-of-the-art option, Invisalign. Using clear, removable aligners, the advanced Invisalign system gently moves your teeth into their proper position without the drawbacks of metal braces. To learn more about Invisalign, set up an appointment with the dental professionals at our High Point, NC facility.
- NIGHT GUARD
Numerous people have nocturnal bruxism, a condition that means they clench their jaw and grind their teeth at night. This can cause inflammation and pain in your TMJ. A custom night guard made by your dentist can help preserve your jaw in the correct position while you sleep and protect your teeth against the wear of grinding.
- HOME REMEDIES
People can do various things on their own to help diminish TMJ pain and symptoms. When it comes to diet, adding soft foods that are easy to chew will alleviate wear and tear on the jaw. Heat and ice packs applied to the jaw area may decrease discomfort, as well as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, including Advil. In some cases, your dentist may prescribe anti-anxiety medications, as well as muscle relaxants if your TMJ are stiff or you are clenching your jaw during the day because of stress and anxiety.
REDUCE YOUR TMJ PAIN
Patients in High Point, NC who have jaw pain or other signs of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), we invite you to contact your dentist to arrange an oral health examination and consultation. At DentalWorks - High Point in High Point, NC we offer a diagnosis of TMD, as well as multiple treatment options. Our team of dental professionals aim to help every patient improve their oral health so they can have a bright, healthy smile they can show off without pain.